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Statement of Congressman Rob Wittman Following the United States’ Withdrawal from Afghanistan
The noble sacrifices made by so many over these last two decades will be forever honored
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) issued the following statement:
“For twenty years, brave men and women rose to the occasion and volunteered to defend our nation, knowing full well their service may take them to the harsh mountains of Afghanistan. And for twenty years, their gallantry and valor held the Taliban at bay. The noble sacrifices made by so many over these last two decades will be forever honored and never forgotten. Their courage and selfless service will inspire Americans for generations to come.
“For many who served in Afghanistan, the past few weeks have been hard to watch. They watched as the government we spent two decades aiding collapsed in a matter of days. They watched as the Taliban inflicted brutal horrors on civilians. And now, they watch as our Commander-in-Chief abandons hundreds of Americans and thousands more of our Afghan allies in Afghanistan.
“To abandon a single American is a disgrace. To abandon hundreds goes well beyond that, marking one of the darkest days in American history. A day in which America abandoned those we swore to protect. And a day in which the United States abandoned the values we swore to uphold.
“It did not have to be this way. President Biden’s hasty and ill-conceived plan appears to have prioritized meeting an arbitrary political deadline rather than meeting strategic objectives necessary for a successful withdrawal. In short, the plan was backwards. President Biden withdrew our military before evacuating civilians and excess equipment. All while leaving the Afghan National Security Forces without the support necessary to hold their own against the Taliban.
“As a result, the Afghan government collapsed within days. Billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment was handed to the Taliban. Hundreds of Americans and thousands of Afghan allies were also abandoned.”
“Despite what the American people witnessed over the past few weeks, during today’s address, President Biden called the Afghanistan withdrawal a ‘success.’ Despite previously promising, ‘if there are American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out,’ today he admitted that they were only able to get 90% of Americans out of Afghanistan. Evacuating Americans should have been the first thing Biden did, instead it was the last, and after Biden had surrendered Bagram Air Base. As a result, President Biden has betrayed the loyal American citizens who were counting upon him for protection. He chose to honor his promise to the Taliban over his promise to American citizens.
“President Biden bears full responsibility for this catastrophic failure. His failure to withdraw from Afghanistan in an orderly and dignified manner, accompanied by the litany of crises he has created here at home, has shaken the nation’s faith in President Biden’s leadership. We owe it to all those who served and sacrificed in Afghanistan to examine the war and investigate why this withdrawal failed as it did.“To achieve this end, I am co-leading legislation alongside my friend and colleague, House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik, to establish a 9/11 style commission on the war in Afghanistan. This commission will evaluate the entirety of the war, including the failed withdrawal. We hope this commission will identify those responsible for these failures. And we hope our colleagues on both sides of the aisle will hold those responsible accountable in the appropriate manner.”